DePaul Blue Demons vs. Marquette Golden Eagles – Wednesday, January 21, 2006 – 7:00 p.m. CST – Bradley Center, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
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Here we go again. For the first time this year, DePaul will have a second look at an opponent as the Blue Demons prepare to take on rival Marquette in Milwaukee on Wednesday night. Both teams are going in opposite directions. DePaul is currently on a four game losing streak (8-9 overall, 1-5 in BE) while Marquette has won eight of their last ten games (14-5 overall, 4-2 in BE).
The last time the two teams clashed was only a week ago on January 17th in Chicago, when DePaul made a vaunted comeback to pull within two points in the final minute (when down 24 at one point in the first half) but could not pull off the miracle run and lost 82-79. Since that game, DePaul lost another heartbreaker, losing at Providence 76-75, while Marquette brushed off Notre Dame 67-65 on a Steve Novak jumper with one second remaining.
DePaul is struggling and mainly because of slow starts, but they are not short on effort. In each of the last three games DePaul has found themselves down by double digits in the first half. However, in the second halves of each of those games DePaul has come out spirited and nearly won each of them. In each of the last three-second halves, DePaul has exerted much energy on coming back and the end result has been draining. So it goes without saying that a good start will go a long way in hoping DePaul can come out of Milwaukee a winner.
Perimeter defense will go along way in trying to shut down Marquette. The Steve Novak-Dominic James duo has proved to be deadly. Both Novak and James won the Big East player of the week and Freshman of the week awards respectively this week. Novak is averaging 16.9 PPG to lead the team to go along with a conference leading 70 three point field goals made, while James is nipping at his heels with an average of 15.2 PPG. The recent play of James has got to have him as the favorite for Big East Freshmen of the year. He leads the team in assists (5.7 APG good for third in the Big East) and his maturity is beyond his age. To make the perimeter a more potent threat is Jerel McNeal. McNeal is a 6-3 guard from Chicago, Ill (Hillcrest) who can beat you in many way. McNeal is the third Golden Eagle in double figures (11.3 PPG). McNeal, James, and injured Wesley Matthews (9.5 PPG in 26.4 mpg) are an amazing freshmen class of multi- talented guards that have propelled a Marquette team, that slumped last year, into NCAA tournament consideration this season. Matthews, with a stress fracture in his foot, will not play and his return date is uncertain.
The Demon guards must you use their height and length to disrupt the Golden Eagles. Sammy Mejia (16.6 PPG) is coming off his best game (a 30 point game at Providence) and he will have to carry that momentum for DePaul to have a shot. Another guard, Draelon Burns, should be amped playing in front of his hometown of Milwaukee. Burns has shouldered some of the scoring opportunities and is second in scoring (12.3 PPG) as a result.
Some questions remain as DePaul heads to Milwaukee that are important in deciding DePaul's fate. Will point guard Cliff Clinkscales continue to get more minutes than freshman Jabari Currie as he did against Providence? Will Wilson Chandler be available to play, or still be on suspension? Who guards Novak? Who guards James?
These questions still remain unanswered, but regardless this is Marquette and DePaul we are talking about. This is an intense rivalry and the proverbial record books should be thrown out. The last two years DePaul and Marquette have split the season series with each team winning on its home floor. For this to continue, DePaul must win on the road (something they haven't done since winning at California on December 21st). In a season of inconsistency, I would expect the unexpected. In other words don't be shocked if DePaul pulls off the upset.
No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Yr. Hometown/High School
1 Dominic James G 5-11 175 Fr. Richmond, Ind./Richmond
2 Matt Mortensen F 6-6 190 Fr. Provo, Utah./Timpview
5 Dan Fitzgerald F 6-9 200 So. St. Paul, Minn./Tulane/St. Thomas
10 Tommy Brice G 5-11 174 So. Bloomingdale, Ill./Lake Park
12 Dwight Burke F 6-8 240 Fr. Brooklyn, N.Y./St. Benedict s Prep (NJ)
20 Steve Novak F 6-10 220 Sr. Brown Deer, Wis./Brown Deer
22 Jerel McNeal G 6-3 185 Fr. Chicago, Ill../Hillcrest
23 Wesley Matthews G 6-5 200 Fr. Madison, Wis./Madison Memorial
32 Joe Chapman G/F 6-4 210 Sr. Chicago Heights, Ill./Bloom Trail
33 Chris Grimm F/C 6-10 245 Sr. Brighton, Mich./Brighton
40 Mike Kinsella C 7-0 245 Jr. Rochester, Minn./Minneapolis Tech/John Marshall
41 Ousmane Barro F 6-10 235 So. Dakar, Senegal/Chicago Julian
43 Ryan Amoroso F 6-8 242 So. Burnsville, Minn./Burnsville
51 Jamil Lott F 6-7 225 Jr. St. Paul, Minn./North Dakota School of Science
Head Coach: Tom Crean
Assistant Coach: Jason Rabedeaux
Assistant Coach: Dan Panaggio
Assistant Coach: Jean Prioleau
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